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Games : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: September 30th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Overview -

Sometimes game series take an interesting turn with new entries. Take the 'Persona' series, for example. As a subseries of the dark 'Shin Megami Tensei' series, 'Persona 3' and 'Persona 4' brought Atlus' flagship series to an entirely new level of popularity. Combining the typically dreary plot of the 'Shin Megami Tensei' games with a bright visual flair and a younger cast of characters, these two hardcore RPGs managed to make quite a splash fans of the genre.

Which makes it a little weird that the sequel to these two games happens to be a fighting title. Atlus teamed up with Arc System Works to create 'Persona 4 Arena', a 2D fighting game featuring characters from 'Persona 3' and 'Persona 4'. The game's story left off on a bit of a cliffhanger, so as a result Atlus created 'Persona 4 Arena Ultimax' to finish off the series' storyline, while adding some new (but familiar) faces to the mix.

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
September 30th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Simply put, looking at 'Persona 4 Arena Ultimax' is a wonderful experience. The pixel art used for the character models is incredibly detailed and painstakingly animated, and battles flow through all of these unique animations seamlessly. The cut-in animations when a character launches a special move or when their Persona awakens is artfully done and does not distract from the action on screen. Specials themselves are appropriately flashy and screen-filling, making them fun to execute besides the obvious damage dealing benefits.

But, even besides the wonderful looking fights, 'P4AU' delivers graphically. The menus are crisp and colorful, and blend aesthetically with the game's theme. They are also, thankfully in my opinion, not mostly comprised with the staple 'Persona 4' yellow and 'Persona 3' bright blue, only having splashes of those colors to provide accents to the screens. This makes the menus a lot easier to look at for decent lengths of time, while still maintaining a similar artistic style.

Audio Review

Ranking:

'Persona 4 Arena Ultimax' doesn't just hold up in the visuals department, though; the music is also top-notch. The soundtracks for the original 'Persona 3' and 'Persona 4' were already quite good, if not atypical. 'P4AU's soundtrack consists of mostly remixed tracks from these two games, and to a great effect. It invokes nostalgia in those that have already played the original RPG titles, but the remixes are strong enough to stand on their own, providing a nice soundtrack to listen to even for those without previous experience with the series. Sometimes, I felt the remixed versions of some tracks were better than the original, cutting some of the weirder aspects of the tracks while keeping its overall quality intact.

In addition, the ample amount of voice acting is also well done. While some of the cutscenes in general may go on longer than desired, there's little bad to be said about the quality of the voice work during them. Atlus kept the same voice actors as those from 'Persona 3' and the Vita title 'Persona 4 Golden', though it's important to note that a few new actors come on board and redid the voices for a few major characters between the original PlayStation 2 version of 'Persona 4' and 'Persona 4 Golden'. Having not played the Vita version, this was the first time I've heard the new actors at work, and while it is a bit jarring at first, the new actors overall do a fine job of portraying the 'Persona 4' characters.

Final Thoughts

With a whole lot of content and a wonderful presentation, 'Persona 4 Arena Ultimax' is looking to be one of the best fighting games to release this year. While the idea may have sprung from an RPG series, there is plenty for fighting game fans to enjoy here, from the easy to learn but tough to master gameplay to the robust modes that offer hours of enjoyment. If you like fighting games, or enjoyed 'Persona 3' or 'Persona 4', then do yourself a favor and pick this up. For everyone else, it's worth looking into, but you may not get the same amount of enjoyment if you don't understand the game's backstory or religiously buy every fighting game.